The Day the Earth Stood Still (2008)

day the earth stood still poster 2008 movie
5.5 Overall Score
Story: 5/10
Acting: 7/10
Visuals: 8/10

Good looking

Dull and unnecessary remake

Movie Info

Movie Name: The Day the Earth Stood Still

Studio:  3 Arts Entertainment

Genre(s): Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Action/Adventure

Release Date(s): December 12, 2008

MPAA Rating: PG-13

day the earth stood still 2008 klaatu keanu reeves

I have all the marbles!!!

The Earth has reached a precipice, and the option to change or die has been taken from humans.  The arrival of a giant sphere in Central Park along with other spheres around the globe has put humanity into a panic.  When the alien coming off the ship is shot on appearance, astrobiologist Helen Benson (Jennifer Connelly) and the team she’s been made a member of find themselves trying to save the life of Klaatu (Keanu Reeves).  Klaatu is forced to go on the run and with the robot G.O.R.T. threatening to destroy the world, Helen and her son Jacob (Jaden Smith) might be humanities only hope…if it isn’t already too late.

Directed by Scott Derrickson, The Day the Earth Stood Still is a science-fiction action movie.  The film is a remake of the 1951 film which adapted aspects of the short story “Farewell to the Master” by Harry Bates which was originally published in Astounding Science Fiction (October 1940).  The movie was met with average to negative reviews.  It was nominated for a Razzie for Worst Prequel, Remake, Rip-Off or Sequel.

day the earth stood still gort 2008

Well, at least Gort…sorry, G.O.R.T. is cool.

The Day the Earth Stood Still is a classic of science-fiction.  The movie had a great monster but more than that it had a story with a moral about humanity and its future.  The film ended with humanity realizing the errors of its way and looking toward a better tomorrow…something unrealistic and rosy.  The new The Day the Earth Stood Still has a slightly darker take on the story but is bogged down in melodrama and a plodding series of events.

The movie really plods.  It takes a halfway realistic approach to an alien arrival (aka assembling a predetermined team etc.) and then takes it the other direction by having all the characters do the normal shoot-first-ask-questions-later approach.  The movie then becomes about Helen convincing Klaatu to spare humanity because they are finished with their options.  While original film had the titled “Day” as a warning of the aliens’ powers, this one has the titled Day as a punishment/response for almost costing all human life…and it seems like the Day might stretch on forever.

Keanu is a good choice for this movie in his acting style, but the movie isn’t a fun movie and therefore Keanu’s character isn’t very interesting.  Connelly and Smith are forced to be the heart of the movie, but it is too much of a pull for Smith and Connelly’s chauffeur role doesn’t get enough range.  The movie does have a good, large supporting cast including Kathy Bates (who is too over-the-top), John Cleese, John Hamm, and Kyle Chandler.

day the earth stood still 2008 ending

Hey any advice on what to do next? No? Ok…bye…

In the movie’s defense, I do think it looks pretty good…and it has held up.  I like the design of G.O.R.T. and how G.O.R.T. is actually a swarm mean to enact the alien’s “punishment” on Earth (though it is a bit unclear if it just eats everything manmade including men and women).  The sphere ships are also interesting though not much is done with them.

If you have a choice to watch either version of The Day the Earth Stood Still, hands-down watch the original (and it is shorter).  If you watch this one, don’t let it influence your decision to watch the original at a later date.  The movie still has some interesting concepts and ideas, but it is wrapped in a rather bland package…plus, no Klaatu Barada Nikto…which is just wrong.

Related Links:

The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951)

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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